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Results And Analysis Of A Required Senior Exam To Assess Learning Of Course Competencies.

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Education: Upperclass Years

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1036.1 - 15.1036.14



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Paper Authors

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Randy Lewis Brigham Young University

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Thomas Knotts Brigham Young University

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W. Vincent Wilding Brigham Young University

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William Pitt Brigham Young University

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Morris Argyle Brigham Young University Orcid 16x16

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Results and Analysis of a Required Senior Exam To Assess Learning of Course Competencies.


As part of the ABET Accreditation Criterion, Program Outcomes refer to the outcomes that chemical engineering students should possess when they leave the university and enter the workforce. In 1999, as a response to ABET’s EC2000 criterion, a list of specific competencies was defined in the Chemical Engineering Program at Brigham Young University that, when taken together, constituted each Program Outcome. When the competencies were first developed, it became clear that the level of mastery expected from students varied from competency to competency. Exposure to the material was all that was required for some competencies. For others, it was our expectation that students should not graduate without demonstrating a specified level of mastery. The expected level of mastery is intimately connected to the types of practices, assessment, and feedback associated with a given competency. Consequently, a mastery level of 0, 1, 2, or 3 was assigned to each competency.

Level-0, which is described as optional, includes competencies that are desirable, but not required. Level-1 indicates some familiarity and experience, but defines no minimum level of performance. Level-2 includes chemical engineering skills in which students can solve engineering problems with the aid of reference materials. Level-3 competencies focus on fundamental concepts and principles upon which the skills/applications are based. Level-3 competencies provide the foundation for problem solving, and it is expected that students master these competencies sufficiently to solve engineering problems given little or no reference material.

When assigning levels to each competency, we identified 18 of the competencies as Level-3 competencies for assessment prior to graduation using a multiple-choice Level 3 (L3) competency exam. Similar to other competencies, these competencies are assessed at the course level with typical assessments such as homework, quizzes, and/or exams problems. The L3 exam is multiple-choice in format and is geared for approximately two hours. The exam is administered early in the senior year. Successful completion of the L3 exam is required for graduation.

This paper will discuss the results of the L3 exam since its inception as a graduation requirement in 2002. Insights will be discussed regarding pass rates, commonly missed competencies, comparisons between years of administration, and the feedback information to the curriculum. Critical assessment of the L3 exam process since inception will also be presented.


In 1999, Program Outcomes at Brigham Young University were established in response to ABET EC2000 requirements. Program Outcomes, as defined by ABET, “are narrower statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that students acquire in their

Lewis, R., & Knotts, T., & Wilding, W. V., & Pitt, W., & Argyle, M. (2010, June), Results And Analysis Of A Required Senior Exam To Assess Learning Of Course Competencies. Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16779

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